Sunday, December 24, 2006

Have yourself a Merry little Christmas

Ah, Christmas Eve! Hardly a white Christmas Eve in my neck of the woods...unless you're imaginative about the incredibly thick fog out there...but that's okay. A soggy greenish Christmas has its benefits too. The annual trek down to my parents house is easier when the roads are clear, and it makes the whole day a little less worrisome if nobody's in danger of getting stuck by the side of the road.

For the first time in years, I'm not spending Christmas Eve panicking, finishing up last-minute things in a big spastic hurry. All of my knitted projects are done & wrapped, save for one pair of socks (I'm down to the toe decreases on the last sock, so no big deal there) & the Ben & Jerry's cozy for my dad. The cozy itself is actually done, but I still have to wrap it. Those are, fortunately, the last two items to be wrapped, and I'm just thrilled about that. Even my husband had commented on how I tend to stress out a lot during the last week before Christmas, because I tend to get overconfident about what I can accomplish in a certain amount of time. Not this year!! It's really been quite wonderful...I've spent a good deal of time with the boys, watching silly Christmas movies, and with my husband (he beat me at a game of Scrabble the other day...he's terribly smug about it, too), and the stress level has been quite low this year. I have to say, I'm quite proud of myself. No, I didn't finish the Christmas stockings, but that's okay, I've got stockings that we can use, and I'm not going to fuss about the knitted ones. I'll finish them in January, I'm sure.

Speaking of finished knitted objects, I finished the alpaca sweater for my Mom, and it blocked up beautifully.

The discoloured splotches aren't really discoloured--that's where it was drying faster than the rest of it. It's not a great picture, but the sweater looks fabulous, and I gotta say, I'm really proud! The braided cable opened up very nicely, and the sleeves blocked to the perfect length. I really really hope Mom likes it...and if she doesn't, I hope she gives it back! I also knitted a couple Noro tea cozys for her, as well as a pair of Fuzzy Feets & a pair of lovely brown socks. Boy the Younger also gets a pair of socks, since he's such a sock nut. I did take a picture of his sockies, but Blogger won't post them, so I'll just tell you that they're made from Lorna's Laces Sheperd Sock, in the Black Purl colourway. They're more fraternal than identical, as one has more blue to it, and the other has more pale purple, but that's okay. Five year olds rarely care about such details. The boy just loves purple, though, so I think he'll like these.

In other news, I received another lovely package from my Sockret Pal! She sent some wonderful goodies, like some wonderful smelling tea, a yarn ornament for my tree, a green Chibi (oh Chibi, how I love thee!), some of my favorite hand cream (how did you know??), a sock pattern from one of my favorite vendors, and an adorable baby sockie coin purse (that my boys promptly swiped for their own nefarious purposes...I think they're carrying a marble collection in it or something). Thanks so much, Sockret Pal!! And speaking of my lovely Sockret Pal, she also sent me a cool little questionnaire the other day...y'all know how I like these silly things...

1) What's the oddest gift you've ever received?

Hmmm...well, I'm pleased to say that my family is pretty darn good at gift giving, so not too many weird ones so far. When I first moved out of the house & was just getting on my feet, my mom gave me a pretty odd was a huge bag full of just about every cleaning supply known to man. She had mops & brooms & rubber gloves & silver polish & floor wax & dish soap & a million other really was a pretty darn cool, and very useful, gift, but it was just a little weird to open. I plan on doing that for my own kids someday, when they get their first place too. :-)

2) What's the oddest gift you've ever asked for?

Well, odd is in the eye of the beholder! My mother thinks I'm completely warped for wanting sock yarn for Christmas this year. Heh. It seems like a perfectly reasonable request to ME, though. When I was younger, my family was really fairly poor, so I always wrote out my Christmas list with that in mind. I'd include things from all price ranges, just so my folks would have a nice range to choose from, and wouldn't feel bad if they couldn't get everything on my list. As a result, every year I asked for a Boeing 747, and every year I was dissapointed. I never got a little genie of my own, either. Heh. (There's a certain irony here in that I *did* get a pony, even though I'd never actually asked for one for Christmas. She wasn't a Christmas present, but I was the only little kid I knew who ever got a pony.)

3)What's the oddest gift you've ever given to someone else?

Heehee...dh gets some pretty weird ones. He's incredibly home-oriented, one of those guys that would much rather hang out at home with his family than go out with the guys all night. He really liked the silly bathroom accessories I'd gotten once, the kind with little fishies floating in the base of the cup or soap dish, and was all happy when he'd found a shower curtain to match, so last year, I got him a bathmat for Christmas. It's shaped like an ironed-out duck. It's cute & dopey, all at the same time, and while I worried that it'd be a lameass present, he really did love the silly thing. Of course, it's not the only present he got, but it was indeed a weird one.

4)What's the worst gift you've ever received?

Oh heavens, that's a tough one! I really haven't ever received any bad presents that I can think of. Pretty much anything received from a teenage boyfriend could probably go on that list, but I can't remember what anything was. Like I said, my family's really good with gifts...dh is known for picking things that are really sweet (he's incredibly sentimental & thoughtful), my mom has really fabulous taste in all sorts of stuff, and my dad is getting a reputation for sniffing out the coolest, weirdest books & things ever. I'm really quite lucky that way.

Good questions, Sockret Pal! It's fun thinking back on Christmases over the years. This is the 8th Christmas I'll have spent with my beloved, and boy, we've had some good times. My parents love my husband, and really enjoy spoiling him at the holidays, and that's a lot of fun to watch. Y'all probably know that my sweetie is a drummer, and also a teacher. The first Christmas we'd spent together, my mom & I conspired to purchase a really nice snare for him (Yamaha Maple Custom, matching the rest of his kit, for those who care), and omg, the look on his face when he opened that up!!! He was literally speechless! Well, not completely speechless...he kept saying "Oh shit" a lot. Heh. He LOVES that snare, and was so happy to have it.

This year should be just as sweetie is finally going back to school to get his Bachelor's degree (WOOHOOOOO!!!!!!), and he'll be starting class in a little less than two weeks. He'll be taking piano & voice lessons (the BA is in Music Education), as well as percussion, and the aging keyboard we have is kind of not so great...keys broken (thanks a lot, cat), sort of small, not very up-to-date. Don't tell my sweetie, but my awesome Mom got the mother of all keyboards for him this year! It's a full size keyboard (I think that means all 88 keys or however many octaves or's over my head, either way), with all the weird MIDI bells & whistles & whatever else he wanted. It is, however, freaking huge, so we're going to have to drive both cars down to the farm in order to bring it home. Dh still doesn't quite understand why we need to drive both cars, and it's entertaining watching him contemplate the reasons. I'm really looking forward to seeing his face tomorrow!! This keyboard should be a huge help with his schoolwork, too. He practices as much as possible already in between teaching (there's a piano in the lesson room where he teaches), but now he can practice at home, too! Yay!

Okay, now I'm just getting way too excited about tomorrow. I can sure tell that I'm getting older, though...I've hardly given a thought to what I might receive, and all my excitement is centered around seeing other people open certain things (mom's sweater, dh's keyboard, Boy the Younger's sockies...). Life is Good. :-)

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

O Christmas Meme

Shamelessly stolen from Old Lady Pen Pal (a really cool lady from my beloved knittyboards).

Christmas Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Can't I have both? I love egg nog, but real egg nog, not that bottled stuff from the store. Mother's gonna make a huge bowl of real egg nog on Christmas, with likker to be added in individually, since the boys certainly can't have any, and my sweetie is a big baby about liquor (HATES it. SO not the Irishman one would expect.). I also love hot chocolate, and it's even better with a hefty shot of Bailey's Irish Cream in it. Yum!
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Santa doesn't wrap, generally speaking. Therefore, in our house, Santa provides all the weirdly-shaped shit, and MomMom & Da provide things that are relatively easy to wrap. The boys haven't caught on yet...
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

Coloured lights, to be sure. Someday I'd love an all-white tree, but while the kids are little, the more colour, the better. It's part of the magic of childhood.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?

No, primarily because I can never find/afford the real stuff, and the fake stuff just looks so plasticky and fake. I'm not a big fan of fake, if I can help it. Besides, I get tons of smooches every day, regardless of the season.
5. When do you put your decorations up?
The day after Thanksgiving!! I absolutely love the Christmas season, and can't wait for it to start. I also don't get tv (no Christmas commercials, no Christmas specials, no Christmas movies/tv shows/parades/whatever), and don't work in retail (no Christmas songs on the Muzak 24 hours a day), so the Christmas season isn't shoved down my throat like it is for other people. If I want to really get into the season, I have to manufacture it myself, and it doesn't wear me down as fast as other folks. If I start right after Thanksgiving, then by the time Dec. 27th or so rolls around, I'm happy to take down the tree & put Christmas away till next year. If I waited till closer to the 25th to start, I wind up feeling ripped off & sad when Christmas is over, like I didn't get enough. This way suits me just fine.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

Excluding dessert??? Gosh, that narrows it down...I'm all about the desserts! Well, I make a Boursin cheese that really rocks (we do a cheese & cracker board for most of the day at my mom's house, and then a dinner in the evening). Mom usually gets this incredible smoked Mozzarella that's really good, too. I sometimes make a ham with a maple rum glaze that I really love, and mother's onion dill rolls are awesome. Um, but we're mostly about the desserts...pies, fudge (several different kinds, all made by me), cookies, etc. Yum.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
Snuggling up on the couch after the presents were all opened, & going through the contents of the stocking. I'd pull a blanket over my lap, and carefully lay out each item one by one. There was always a box of chocolate covered cherries (made by Brachs, before the bastards quit making them. Grrr.), and you had to be careful that they wouldn't get all melty in your hand, since the fireplace was usually going. I miss having a fireplace!!
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I was about six, and my evil older sister told me. She even dragged me halfway down the stairs to spy on my parents setting stuff under the tree. It really crushed me...
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yep! Even before I had kids, I kept that tradition. It's nice for the kids, as it helps to lessen the spastic excitement about the next day, and it's also a nice incentive to help shove 'em into bed afterwards. Heh.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
It's really eclectic. It's just lights & ornaments, no garland or tinsel (tinsel's dangerous for the cat). Each ornament has a story, though, and I adore every one of them. I only hung one or two ornaments myself...the boys & their Da hung all the rest. As a result, it's not very evenly spaced, but whatever, they were proud as heck to do it. Someday, when the kids are older & out of the house, and we have a real house of our own, I hope to have one main big tree, and then lots of smaller trees throughout the house, with goofy themes. My sweetie will get a tree in his studio with all his drum ornaments, and all the music related ones, and probably all the freaky Star Wars ones too (yes, we have a crapload of Star Wars ornaments on our tree. Not really what I'd think of when I think Christmas, but then, I'm not a guy, so whatever). I'd like a tree just for all my Disney ornaments, and a little teeny tree in my knitting corner with lovely yarn garland, and tiny knitted mitties & socks, and little bitty sheeps. Yeah. That would be nice.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
Love it, now that I live in town. Back when I lived on the farm & had to do chores in all that stuff, I HATED it. It's hard work to slog through three feet of snow & chase horses! Now, I really like to look at it out the window, though I still don't like to be in it very much.
12. Can you ice skate?
Heck no! That requires waaaay too much skill & coordination.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
My most favoritest recent gift was last beloved husband, who takes great pride in his shmoopie-ness, picked out the most perfect chair for my knitting corner, and a lovely bright lamp to go with it. I LOVE the's the perfect colour, and the style is so very me. More than that, though, I love the thought behind it. See, I already had a chair (a crappy little one that did the job, but wasn't terribly comfy or attractive), but he knew how much I enjoy things like knitting, so he wanted me to have a tiny little sanctuary to do my thing in. It was just about the sweetest, most thoughtful thing ever. He's pretty darn good at stuff like that. He also helped the boys make a nice pile of lovely bookmarks for me last year, too. The boys coloured all kinds of pictures on both sides of strips of construction paper, and dh laminated them. I use those bookmarks ALL the time, and I really treasure them.
14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
The magic of it. That general feeling of old, old magic, a special, intangible sparkle that's almost timeless, and makes you warm in the darkest days of winter. More importantly, passing that magic on to my children, with their big wide eyes and open, believing hearts. Also, it's the one time of year that it's okay to spend money on things for my loved ones (we're REALLY poor, so extra money is rarely spent on gifty things). It's so much fun to do that for my husband!
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Um, yes. All of them. Ahem. Really, I love my own Christmas cookie recipe a lot. It's not too sweet, and flavored with nutmeg, and makes the best cutouts. I made some this weekend, and they're almost all gone already. I also make several really good varieties of fudge (my peanut butter fudge is like's a wonder I'm not 400 pounds by now), and though I don't make it often, my caramel recipe is to die for.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Wow, I don't know...I like them all! I love getting up Christmas morning & watching the boys as the come into the living room. Their eyes get so huge! I love bundling up the family & taking a long, leisurely drive through town late at night & looking at all the Christmas lights. I love decorating the tree, and hanging the wreaths, and listening to Christmas carols while I clean the house (don't so much love the cleaning the house part, though). I love hauling the kids & the presents for my parents down to the farm on Christmas Day, and snuggling with my hubby in front of the fire there, and seeing my mom's face when she opens whatever weird stuff I've made for her that year. (This year it's the alpaca sweater, and ooooh, I hope she likes it!!) Yeah, I pretty much like all of our traditions.
17. What tops your tree?
A lovely porcelain angel in a burgundy dress, with golden wings & dark brown hair. The only thing I would change if I could is to give her darker skin, so she'd look more like us, but whatever. It's not a big deal, and she really is awfully pretty.
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving?
I like both equally. I adore giving things to those I love, especially things I made by hand & worked really hard on. It's like a physical representation of my love for them. Sappy, but true. I'm also not so stupid that I don't like receiving, especially from my parents. Mom has fabulous taste, and often picks out things that she knows we'd otherwise never have because we can't afford such luxuries. I've gotten so many cool kitchen things from her! Dad has the most wonderful, if completely bizarre, taste in books, and always gets the COOLEST books ever for me. Most of the time, it's titles I've never even heard of, but really suit me. My husband, like I said, has a major gift for choosing the sweetest, most thoughtful things possible.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Carol of the Bells, if it's done by a really good a cappella choir. Gabriel's Song, by Sting, also. I tend to prefer classical tunes, rather than pop tunes, and pretty much anything made/written since the 50s annoys me after one hearing.
20. Candy Canes… Yuck or Yum?
Yum! Especially the multicoloured cherry flavoured ones! Mmmmm...

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I can't believe I haven't posted about my first Sockret Pal package yet! Geesh, and I've had it for a week, too. I'm very excited to say that I received the incredibly awesome sock book by Nancy Bush, Knitting on the Road!! I'm a huge fan of hers, and I've been gawking at everyone else's Conwy socks for ages, so I'm really excited! There was also some lovely stationery & a cute little bitty pen...thanks so much, Sockret Pal!! And, I'm sorry I didn't post earlier...I feel awful, because I know how frustrating it can be, waiting for your downstream to confirm that it got there. I live in fear of my little packages getting eaten in the mail, never to be seen again, and I get antsy waiting for confirmation of their arrival. The brain has been somewhat consumed lately by thoughts of the holiday knitting...and concerns over Second Sleeve Syndrome. I hope to finish the alpaca sweater within the next week or two, but that still leaves about a half dozen smaller projects to finish...oy!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Happy Blogiversary to me!

Yup, one year ago today, I created this weird little space. I imagine it was probably just as grey & rainy then as it is now, being November & all. Big thanks are due here to Kathy, who I leaned on a lot when I started, and who pestered the heck outta me to start a blog in the first place. I don't often make sense here, and I rarely write well, but it really is a nice little place to vent & keep track of my geek progress. And speaking of geek progress...

The alpaca sweater for my Ma is looking pretty good thus far. It's nearly to the bind-off in this picture. I worked a seed stitch hem at the bottom there for about an inch or so, and picked up the stitches on one of the sleeves last night. The sleeves will have a seed stitch cuff as well, though I still have no idea how I'm gonna do the collar. The braided cable, btw, is the River Run pattern from Vogue Stitchionary #2, and really pretty, in my opinion. Also on the needles these days...This here is the beginning of the first of a pair of Fuzzy Feets, also for my Ma. I'm using Forest Heather Wool of the Andes, and lemme tell ya, it's weird making socks this huge & loose. Furthermore, there's... The first of a series of four Christmas stockings. Well, five, really, if you count the little one I'm going to make for the cat. Yes, I'm knitting a stocking for the cat. I am a Crazy Cat Lady, and I wear the badge with pride. These are done in Reynolds Lopi, Fire Tweed & Spruce Tweed, and I really like the way they're turning out. So does my sweetie, who picked the pattern and the yarn, which is pretty darn impressive for him. My only complaint is I'm unsure about how to join the new yarns (can't I just spit-splice 'em? or would it make the colour jogs weird?), so it's stalled out in favor of the alpaca sweater lately. That brings me to the one & only project that's not intended for someone else...My much adored, and badly photographed, Sierra socks (Mountain Colours Bearfoot...yum). These socks are moving at the speed of frozen molasses, unfortunately, as the Christmas knitting does take precedence. They are the most beautiful socks I've ever made, though, and will be well worth the wait, I'm sure. I really wish y'all could see the camera isn't the best, nor am I all that hot at knowing how to make it better, so you'll just have to believe me. It's a gorgeous deep red, with small shots of olive green & gold & maroon...soooo autumnal, and soooooooooo pretty! Also pictured in my Photo of Pretty, a really kickass notebook given to me by the lovely (and generous!) Kathy! I'm sort of weird about blank books like this, and I admired this one in Borders the other day. It's a gorgeous metallic green, with deep red accents, and a little leather magnetic clasp. I loff it. Anyway, Kathy took pity on my drooling, and presented it to me as an early Christmas present. How cool is that? It's keeping track of knitting & Christmas lists right now. Even Stripes approves of the sweater. Y'know, it's interesting to think of how far I've come in the last year, since starting this silly blog...I didn't know how to knit at all a year ago, and now I'm working on this gorgeous cabled sweater...kinda neato, eh? Oh, and while I'm back on the topic of the sweater, let me voice my fears about's absolutely gorgeous, and I'm really proud & everything, BUT. I tried it on after I bound off the bottom hem, and it fits me like a glove. It's beautiful. Problem is, it's not for me, it's for my Ma, who generally speaking, likes things to be a bit looser than I do. Yeah, we're pretty much the same size, and it really fits me beautifully, but she's in her fifties, and I can't remember seeing her wear something so...not loose! It's not tight, but nicely skims the outline of my shape (the shape in question being "lumpy", but that's neither here nor there), and while that works wonderfully for me, I'm not so sure she'll be thrilled with it. I'm kind of honked at myself for not erring on the side of caution more, but in my own defense, I really didn't want a huge tent sweater, either. Fortunately, I think she'll be honest enough to tell me if she'd never wear it, because if that's the case, then I really want it for me! I'd happily make her another one instead after the holidays, but there's no way in hell I'm ripping this thing back all the way to the beginning. I've been working on it since August! (Yes, I am a slow knitter...I have started & finished a whole buncha other projects in that time, though, also.)

As long as I have your attention, I think y'all should go on over to my dear friend Kerrie's blog, and congratulate her on the birth of her SEVENTH baby!! (I shit you not, SEVEN kids!! Personally, I would have croaked years ago, but Kerrie's of strong Irish stock, and a fabulous momma.) And, she deserves huge congrats on the building of her new house! I'm so happy for her that she gets to have so much space now...because honey, I know tiny living areas! Heh.

And that concludes ye olde Blogiversary poste. Yay that I've made it this far, and yay that I can tell y'all about it! Woohoo!

(And yes, I'm a dork. You should have known that by now, don't you think?)

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A picture is, indeed, worth a thousand words

But sadly, I haven't any pictures for you today, so you'll just have to sit here & listen to me babble incessantly. More picture-taking to come in the near future, though! I've quite a pile of projects on the needles right now, so I've got lots of pictures to take. Work is progressing nicely on the alpaca sweater for my mom, and even though it's on ungodly tiny needles (size threes, and while that's rather big for socks, it's pretty daunting for a whole freakin sweater) with a gauge of 8st to the inch, I really am enjoying it. The fabric is beautiful, and the cable looks really nice, if I do say so myself. As much as I like the speed & quick satisfaction of chunkier yarns, I'm beginning to think that I may be a fine-gauge sweater convert. Anyhow, I'm about 3/4 of the way done on the body, and then all I'll have to do is the sleeves & pick up & knit a collar, assuming I can finally decide what I want that to look like. I think a large part of the enjoyment factor comes with having started this sweater back in August...if I had allowed myself less time, I'd definitely not be liking it as much.

In other news around the Front, I've gone & done something completely weird, yet cool...I got a job. Seriously. I'm the new knitting instructor at my local Michael's! How cool is that? I'm less than enthused about the whole prevalence of fun fur thing, but whatever, they're paying me for it. My first beginner class starts soon, and while I will be repeating the beginner class regularly, I also want to throw in a few small project classes here & there. Any ideas, using only materials that can be purchased at Michaels (bummer, I know), are really welcome!

Also in the news this week, from the Department of Meow...Tipsy had a seizure of some sort not long ago. A loud noise set it off (the loud noise being me hollering at a kid, now how guilty do I feel??), and she lost all control of her eye movement (nystagmus is what it's called...basically, her eyes moved back & forth very rapidly, and she lost almost all balance completely). This lasted for twelve minutes, and upset me greatly. I mean, I knew she was a "special needs kitty" when I adopted her, her foster parents were very clear on that, but sheesh! That was scary! I did a bunch of research, and was oddly vindicated when she visited the vet the next day & he confirmed my suspicions of peripheral vestibular disease. The bad news is, it's likely caused by a lesion on the right side of her brain. The good news is, the treatment was relatively inexpensive, and has helped tremendously. She gets drops in her ears twice a day, which she hates with the fire of a thousand suns, but her head is on straight now! She's not tilted at all! It's kind of weird to see, really. Anyway, while the seizure was really freaking scary, I'm rather glad it happened, because it made the diagnosis MUCH easier, and she otherwise might have gone untreated for ages. Poor kitty. She is feeling perfectly fine, though, aside from despising her meds, so I'm a happy camper.

Sadly, I managed to miss most of Socktober, though I did get at least one pair of socks finished anyway. I don't have a picture of them, but sooner or later I will. Eventually. Ahem. I finished my Booga Bag, which was sent to the lovely LkManitou (check out her blog...*she* has pics of the booga bag, even though I'm too much of a weenie to remember to take them myself!) for the October Knitted Thing swap. In the same swap, I was lucky enough to receive a superwarm pair of pretty red Fuzzy Feets! Fuzzy Feets of my very own! Mmmm...thank you, Valkyrie!!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

In which I stop being British for a moment

...and say thank you to everybody. This whole grief thing is really hard for me...I don't really know how to handle it. Yeah, three out of four grandparents have died in the last ten years, so it's not like this is the first loss I've ever had, but all three grandparents died after a prolonged, painful illness, so it was something I was prepared for ahead of time, and almost a bit of a relief. They had all lived long, full, wonderful lives (well, my maternal grandmother died way too young, imo, but it was a relief for her...the cancer was terrible), and while it was very sad to lose them, it seemed okay, somehow. Ric, on the other hand, is only 37, and still hadn't gotten around to pulling his head out of his arse. There was just so much unfulfilled potential there!! That, and the violent & sudden way he died is sort of hard to process. Anyway, thank you so much, to everyone who has been so kind & thoughtful, and has just been there. I really appreciate it, even if I'm uncomfortable talking about it. That's the one crappy thing about being British...we're soooo stiff-upper-lip in my family, it's unreal. Grief, in my experience, has been an incredibly private process, which is all well & good except for the fact that consequently, I don't really know *how* to grieve. Oy. Suffice to say, it's been a rough week here at Chez Yarn n'Likker, but it is getting a bit more normal. Normal being a matter of opinion, of course.

Also, I'd like to thank my awesome SP...I got a beautiful skein of stretchy cotton sock yarn (like Cascade Fixation, but hand-painted!!) in the mail the other day, plus a great pattern!! Y'all should see the's lovely! Gorgeous shades of olives & blues & mustard & plum...very fall colours. Thank you so much, SP...the timing couldn't possibly have been better! I'm looking forward to working with it, too...these will make great summer socks, and for me, me, me!!! (Ahem...'scuse me, I'm just feeling a bit snarky, given that fully half of the socks I've made thus far have been for gifts, and my feets are beginning to complain. It is my long-range goal to have exclusively hand-knit sockies for my little feets, only relying on machine made socks for emergencies. Heh.)

Again, thank you, guys. Your thoughts & words & prayers mean so very, very much to me. It really helps to know y'all are out there when I need you.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Saved by the meme

Heatherly (the Yarn Yenta...what an awesome name!) posted a meme/contest just the other day, and it serves as a convenient space filler to hopefully make y'all forget that I still haven't gotten any new pictures up here in a coon's age. Ahem.

1. Where is your favorite knitting spot?

In the corner of my bedroom, in the special knitting chair that my beloved gave to me last Christmas. It's beautiful, all camel coloured sueded fabric & reddish mahogany stained arms & such. It's very 1930s, and I absolutely adore it. It's also comfy as heck, so that's a big bonus. Anyway, the chair faces my bed, and it has a good view of the tv, and it's right next to the bookcase with a buncha knitting reference books & space for a drink or two. There's a silly little table on the other side of the chair that is invariably covered in books, patterns, and loads of WIPs. I love my little corner.

2. If you suddenly could never knit again (shudder) - what would you do instead?

Good heavens, I might just croak. I'd probably set about to converting as many patterns as I could to crochet, assuming that the reason I can't knit is because of some evil gnome with cruel spells or something, rather than arthritis or something that would affect use of my hands. I'd also finish more cross stitch samplers, without a doubt, I'd probably bake more, and read WAY more than I have been lately. I used to read a ton, but every extra minute has been spent knitting Christmas gifts as of late. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.

3. If you could travel anywhere in the world - where would you go and why?

The British Isles, no doubt. My family is frightfully British, and I *will* see England before I die. My beloved husband is Irish, and I'd love to see where his family came from as well. Besides, I've had a weird fascination with the UK for as long as I can remember...the history is amazing, and the countryside (from what I've seen in pictures, anyway) is just stunning. Yeah, I'd definitely go to England, with side trips to Ireland, Wales, & anywhere else I can reach.

4. When you were little - What did you want to do "when you grew up?" Are you doing it?

I wanted to be a police officer more than words can say. I still do, really. Pretty much anything in that field thrills the heck outta me. I'm not doing it now, unfortunately, but it's for good reason...I'm a stay at home mom, and these boys are more important than any career in the world. Maybe I'll go back to school after they're grown, but it's hard to say at this point.

5. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Ooh, hard one! I currently love Ben & Jerry's Dublin Mudslide, which is an irish cream flavored ice cream with espresso fudge ribbons & chocolate cookie chunks. Fabulous, I tell you. I'm also fond of mint oreo, and a really well-made french vanilla. Yum.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

So damn tired

My apologies for the lack of blogging lately. The camera's batteries are just about shot, so no pictures here until the hubby gets paid & brings me some more batteries. I've been knitting like crazy though...I've currently got six or seven things on the needles, and another five or six that need to be made for Christmas gifts. Fortunately, most of them are relatively small things, so I hope to get them all finished fairly soon (or maybe I'm just a delusional optimist...time will tell). I hope to get pics up in the next week or so, too...the sweater I'm making for my Ma is gorgeous!! The braided cable is turning out really nicely, and the fabric is sooo soft. It's going to be hard to give this one up.

In other, less happy news, my favorite uncle was killed yesterday. Ric was an amazing person...freakishly brilliant, yet consumed by drug & alcohol addictions. I've not seen him in several years, but I loved him deeply. He was on a bit of a pedestal for me...he's ten years older than I, and all throughout my childhood I heard about how brilliant he is, how far he could go, how well he was doing in school. I remember wanting to be just like him, and when my mom declared that we had the exact same weird, dry sense of humor, I was so proud! I just adored this guy. He fell pretty hard off his pedestal a few years ago, when things started getting really bad with the addictions. He did some pretty stupid things, lost his fabulous job, and went downhill quickly. I still loved him, though, and still had hope that sooner or later he'd pull his head out of his arse & get back on track again. Sunday night, I had a lovely dream, involving him & several other uncles of mine. He was whole & happy & free of the pain that he's been in for so long, and we had such a good time! My grandfather had grilled some amazing steaks, and we just hung out & ate & goofed was wonderful. Then I woke up, and Mom called to tell me that he'd been in a car accident, and his pupils were fixed & dilated, and he may never wake up. I knew he was dead...he'd come to say goodbye already. It turns out that he was a pedestrian, crossing a street, and got hit by a car. Brain death was immediate, and for that I am grateful. He's suffered enough in his life, he didn't need to suffer any more. My dad & his sister authorized a DNR order by early afternoon, they harvested organs to donate, and pulled the plug sometime yesterday evening. He'll be cremated & brought home to Indiana, but I've no idea when the memorial service will be...our family can be sort of slow in that respect. (We sort of figure he's not going anywhere by that point, and then everyone waits until the *whole* family can make it all at one took two whole years to finally get my great-grandfather buried.) I do rather hope it will be sooner than later. I'm just so incredibly sad about it all...I'd kind of like to get the closure & just move past it. I adored him so much. I'd still hoped he could turn his life around, but now that will never happen. It's just such a waste, and it breaks my heart.

I slept like a brick last night, and dreamed only of my husband (it was a *good* dream, too! heehee), but I'm still just so damn tired. My head has ached almost non-stop since Sunday night (freaky little irony there, huh?), and I'm just worn out. Thanks for reading, if you've gotten this far, and I promise there will be more knitting content in the near future.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Sockret Pal Questionnaire!

Oh, how I do loves me a good swappin'...

The basics:
How long have you been knitting?Do you consider yourself a beginning sock knitter, an intermediate, or have you been doing this so long you could probably knit a pair in your sleep?

I've been knitting for just under a year now. My learning curve is pretty steep, though, so I'd say I'm intermediate. I've finished three pairs of socks, plus a few baby booties here & there (do they count?), and have three more pairs on the needles right now. It's probably my favorite thing to knit, though I'll knit darn near anything I can get my hands on. Oh, and I've got Christmas stockings on the needles, which have the same cuff-down, heel flap construction as a standard sock. I *want* to be good enough to knit in my sleep, though!

The measurements:
While your pal may ask for some additional info to ensure a great fit, please provide your shoe size, or any other fitting related info you think is pertinent.

I wear a 6 1/2 shoe or so, once in a while a size 7, depending on the manufacturer. The ball of my foot is about 8 1/2 inches around, and it's about 9 inches long, toe to heel. My feets are pretty narrow, and I have no arch whatsoever. Y'know how when you walk with wet feet on concrete, it leaves footprints? My footprints look like duck feets. That's how flat my arches are.

(fiber related) Favorites:
What colors do you love?

Ooooh, I love all kinds of colours!! There's previous questionnaires on this blog where I go bonkers describing all my favorite colours, so please feel free to refer back if you wanna. My favorites are olive greens (well, most any shade of green except lime is awesome), deep reds, and jewel-toned blues. I also love neutrals, chocolate browns & tans & creams look nice on me. Pretty much anything except neons...I really don't care for neons (hot pink, electric orange, bleah! I had enough of those in the 80s). Most shades of yellow don't flatter me...I've got yellow skin, so yellow on yellow makes me look sorta dead. In socks, however, I don't think yellow would be a's far enough away from my face, and next to blue jeans, so it could be doable.

Do you prefer solids or variegated?

Either one. For my own personal use, I like solids for complicated patterns, like lace or something, and variegateds for simpler patterns. I'm *really* fond of nearly solids...the kind that stick to one colour, but vary from lighter to darker shades of it. So pretty! And I'm SUPER weak for handpaints. My stash is full of 'em.

What fibers do you most love to knit with?

Natural fibers, to be sure. I'm a huge fan of wool, alpaca, silk, and the like. I also really like blends, like when a wool sock yarn has a bit of nylon or tencel or something in it...I hear it helps with durability. Softness is a main qualification, of course.

Who do you consider your favorite yarn vendors?

Oh my, this list could go on for days! I love Webs, KnitPicks, LittleKnits, The Loopy Ewe, my local yarn stores (the Fold, Wool & Co, & Yarn Exchange), Simply Socks Yarn Co, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, among others, and a buncha smaller outfits, like Fearless Fibers, Lisa Souza, that sort of thing. I like to support small businesses, of course, but I tend to go wherever I can get the best deal. I have very very few extra dollars to put towards my knitting habits, so I have to get the most out of them that I can.

What projects (other than socks, of course*S*) do you most enjoy knitting?

Socks!! Heh...well, I'm really enjoying a couple sweaters that I'm working on right now. I like lace a lot, though I don't have much time to work on it (I tend to knit in front of the tv, and I just can't pay attention to anything else while knitting lace. Once I'm done with the few shows on dvd that I'm into, I hope to get back into the lace more often). I like smallish projects, because lord knows the instant gratification thing is nice. I love anything with beloved is Irish, and I've been dying to make a beautiful cabled Aran for him. He'd look gorgeous in one! And, um, socks. Yes.

(fiber related) Dislikes:
What fibers can you not stand to knit with? To wear?

Not much, really. I'm pretty easy. I don't care for squeaky acrylics, though there are a few acrylics that are actually pretty decent (though they are few & far between...Plymouth Encore comes to mind as a good one). I really don't like novelty fur, laddered yarn, that sort of thing. I tend to lean towards smoother yarns, rather than hairier, though I'm not against mohair-y type things. Aside from novelty yarns & squeaky acrylics, I think I'd knit with pretty much anything!

What colors would you never wear?

Like I mentioned, yellow makes me look sorta deceased. Neons are just unpleasant on me...I've dark hair & dark eyes, with the yellow skin, and I feel like I'm supposed to glow in the dark in neons. I have a tendency to stick to earth tones, generally speaking.

The Tools:
Plastic or Metal? Bamboo or wood?

Metal, if they're the KnitPicks ones!! Ooooh, I luuuurves me some KP needles! I've got a buncha dpns, and one circ, and I'm just smitten with them. I'd like to get the Options set one of these days, but I'll probably wind up buying one or two bits at a time, & slowly building up a set that way. I like bamboo an awful lot too, and it's all I used before discovering the KP dpns. Wood is fine, and I'd really love to try some of those rosewood & ebony needles, the ones that were reclaimed from musical instruments. How cool is that?? I really can't stand plastic, though, and pretty much all the aluminum needles I've had (not counting KP) sucked. They were long, heavy & unwieldy...and now I can't get rid of 'em.

Circs or Straights?

Both! I like straights if they suit the project, and aren't too long. Anything longer than my arm (about 12-13 inches) is too long & awkward, though, so I love circs for those sorts of things. The big black cable-y sweater that I'm making for dh would kill me if it were on straights. And, I'm *really* fond of knitting in the day, I hope to be skilled enough to convert all my sweater patterns to in the round, rather than pieced together. Round is fun.

DPNs or Magic Loop?

Dpns, absolutely!! I've not tried magic loop or 2circs, and frankly, I don't have a huge amount of interest. I love dpns, and the KP ones make sock knitting very fast & fluid. Yeah!

Are there any knitting accessories you don't have in your collection but would like?

Not too many...I'd sure like some Smokey Joe kitty sock blockers & lace blocking wires. I have a sock bag by Trek that I really like, and it'd be nice to have a second since I like to have multiple pairs of socks on the needles at one time. A big pile o' time would sure be nice! That's the one thing I'm lacking most...time to knit.

The Extras:
Do you have a wish list? If so, please share the link!

Heck yeah! The Lust List, on the sidebar over there, and one on Amazon. The amazon one is about a mile long, but there's lots of good knitting books & things there.

Do you like sweet, sour or salty? (or all of the above? *S*)

I love sweet, almost to a fault, and I love salty. Sour, however, is NOT my friend.

Do you have any allergies your pal should know about? (Certain foods, smoke, pet hair, etc)

Nope, no allergies. I *hate* the smell of cigarette smoke, though, being an ex-smoker. Pet hair is not a problem...Crazy Kitty keeps me in good supply of it.

Favorite scents? Scents you can't stand?

I love fall/spicy scents! Yankee candle has a few fall fragrances that I just love...sadly, they discontinued the Brown Sugar & Cinnamon that I adored a few years back. Bastards. Anyway, fall scents are wonderful, and anything spicy/homey is nice. I like very light florals, but not heavy ones. I really can't stand heavy florals, or heavy sandalwood...I make soaps & toiletries, and one of my most popular scents (Vanilla Sandalwood) makes me gag. There's irony for ya, huh?

Do you collect anything (other than yarn and knitting toys of course)?

Mostly just yarn! Especially sock yarn...yum! I do collect books, though...mysteries, history books, and knitting books. Antique books as well, but those are hard to come by. I also cross stitch, and sampler patterns (especially antique samplers!) are really cool. I'm just getting into collecting antique maps, but again, they're hard to come by. I have a really cool map of England & Wales that was printed in 1903 that I just love. But I'm weird like that. But yeah, my sock yarn collection is my prized jewel.

When is your birthday? (month and day is fine!)

August 31st.

Do you spin? Dye your own yarn?

I've just barely started spinning. I've been given this stunningly beautiful drop spindle, and I have a bit of roving, but I'm not particularly good at it yet. Sadly, I've had to set it aside in favor of all the Christmas knitting I'm doing. I'm really looking forward to January, when I'll have time to pick it up again, and really figure out how to do it well. I don't dye my own, because frankly, I've got enough irons in the fire. I don't need another addiction! Maybe someday I will, though. In the meantime, I lust like crazy after other people's hand-dyed yarns...they're sooo pretty!

Your favorite author/band/vacation spot, anything you think will help your pal know you better...

Gracious, I dunno...My pal mentioned that she's already a reader of this blog (it blows my mind that I have readers at all, y'know!), so she probably knows plenty already. Feel free to ask questions, though! Oooh, here's something important for you to memory is crap, and I frequently *think* I've answered an email/post/comment/question, when really I've only thought about it in my head, and not actually typed it out. I never mean to ignore anybody, I just don't realize that I never actually spoke my answers out loud. I'm kind of a dolt that way. Feel free to remind me/holler/poke at me with knitting needles till I do cough up a response. I don't mean to be a twit, it's just a sorta natural default position for me. Oy!

I'm really looking forward to this swap, though...y'all know how I love swaps, and how I love socks, and honestly, what could be better than putting the two together? Throw in chocolate, and my head just might burst from the joy of it all. Yay!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Random Monday, yet again

Evidently, randomness works for me. First up, thanks for all the kind birthday wishes, y'all! I am now officially older & a wee bit more crotchety. And that's okay. My birthday was a quiet affair, which is just fine & dandy with me, that involved much lazing about in the sun at a park (while weasels played on the playground, and I knit, of course), and my beloved husband gifting me with this book. I've been eyeballing it for quite a while, and I'm really excited to have fifty billion different cast-ons available to me now.

Fall is a season of change, and just as the summer ends & autumn begins, so endeth & beginneth the summer & fall swaps. Over the summer, I was really pleased to be involved in the One Skein Secret Pal, the blogosphere Secret Pal 8, and the knittyboard CheapAss Secret Pal 2. I had an absolute blast in these, and met several really interesting people to boot. I absolutely adore my upstream SP8, Suzanne. She's brilliant, funny, and flipping psychic. She always knew *exactly* what to send, and she really made my summer special. And, check out her blog...she also has gorgeous daughters who knit as well! (And, there's a picture of that drop-dead gorgeous drop spindle she sent to blog somehow refuses to post pics of it here, which honks me off tremendously, but hers doesn't seem to be quite so snarky.) My One Skein upstream is also a wonderful, interesting person, not to mention a member of my much-loved knittyboard! Cindi is a regular contributor on the boards, and I've noticed that I'm also following her all over the knit swap world. Who knows, maybe next time I'll get to be her upstream! I really had a grand time in these swaps, but all good things must come to an end, and so I'm on to new, exciting swaps. And yeah, I'm a confirmed swap ho, and dang, but I love it that way! This fall, I'm involved in the Sockret Pal swap (a secret swap that involves knitting a pair of socks for your downstream...I'm *so* looking forward to this!! I'm dying to get my hands on socks someone else has knit...I really want to compare technique & styles & fit & such!), the Chocolate Swap (oh, be still my beating heart...yarn and chocolate...heavens...), the knittyboard October Knitted Thing swap, the knittyboard Spooky Swap, and the Favourite Colour Swap. Before y'all start to thinking about how insane I am, do realize that all but one of these swaps are one-month, one-package commitments, so it's not really all *that* much. And, the Sockret Pal swap goes bi-monthly for six months, thus stretching my time in which to knit the socks considerably, which is good, because pretty much all my knitting hours until December 24th are booked solid.

Speaking of the Favourite Colour Swap, I received my box the other day!! In retrospect, I don't suppose I was very nice when I filled out my questionnaire...the main point to the questionnaire was to state my favourite colour, but being the indecisive type I am, I more or less stated why I liked all the colors. Oy. I didn't even realize I did that until after I'd sent the thing in. Fortunately, my upstream is a doll who was patient enough to read through my ramblings, and she went with blues & greens, which are right up there with my all-time favorite shades (especially green...and the bonus is, it looks good on me, too!).

Check it out...Patons Classic Wool in a lovely shade of green (dh says I need to fish up some chocolate brown to match it, and make a stripey sweater...that could actually look really cool!), a pretty green photo album (it's hiding, because it was hard to squish everything into the photo), green point protectors in just the right size for all my sock knitting (thank you! It sucks getting stabbed!), green tic-tacs & Mentos sours (you can't tell, but the Mentos things are half gone already...dh stole them straight outta the box), some gorgeous merino sock yarn that she dyed herself (omg, I'm SO saving this for those awful grey days in February!! It's so bright & happy, and really just beautiful...perfect for the colourless days of mid-winter), and an absolute treasure--Interlacements Toasty Toes in Irish. 'Scuse me whilst I pass out from the stunning colors. I mean dayum, I could sit here & gaze at the subtle gradations in the greens, blues & purples for hours, I kid you not. And, I've been coveting Interlacements for ages! Truly, this was a fabulous box. Thank you so much, Nicole!!!

Elsewhere in my little knittyworld, I've actually finished something... Half finished something else...

And started some other things too...Yes indeedy, it's the WIP Parade! Clockwise from top left, we have the Noro Booga Bag, body of bag completed, nine miles of i-cord begun; the first of four Christmas stockings for my family in Lopi Fire Tweed & Spruce Tweed, pattern compliments of this book; the fluffy green scarf for my friend Brandie (that I must admit I set down over the summer & didn't work on's a warm scarf, and it's not much fun to knit warm stuff in warm weather, but I've recently picked it up again & hope to finish it before our next meeting); the beginnings of the pretty camel-colored alpaca sweater for my Ma, not yet cast on, but ready to go now that my kickass KnitPicks circs are in; two sock cuffs (cursed 1x1 ribbing!) in Lorna's Laces Camouflage, using a basketweave pattern from this book; the second of two adorable little baby hats in KP Crayon for my friend who is going to cough up twins in the next couple months; the lace scarf I started a coon's age ago in Misti Alpaca (I adore lace, but I really need to be able to focus on just that while I'm doing it, lest I lose my place in the chart, and quiet time has been hard to come by around here lately); and finally, the giant cabley sweater for my beloved, which is actually really cute, even though it's enormous & black & hard to see. So yeah, I've got a lot of knitting to do. It doesn't help that I keep coming up with more cool ideas for Christmas presents for my Ma, either...

Remember I mentioned a visit from my cool pal Shanelle? Did I happen to mention the incredibly awesome needle case set she gave me??? I kid you not, this is one of my most favorite knitting items ever (all three of 'em!). See, we'd made a swap of some yarn for some needle cases, and LORDY, did I get the good end of the bargain!! There's a notions bag (big enough for all my goofy bits & bobs), a dpn case that's longer than my arm & holds every darn dpn I have, which is no small feat, and a kickass circ case that not only holds every circular needle I own, but has plenty of room for many more (that I will undoubtedly collect in the next year or two)!! Check 'em out... The fabric is beautiful, the braided ties have little wooden beads at the end, and the sewing is perfectly professional (which is amazing, because if I remember correctly, she didn't even use a pattern!!). The circ case has sixteen pockets, very generously sized, and I can even keep 'em in there in their little envelopes if I want (helps to keep tabs on what size they all are, especially if the darn needles aren't marked--the only downside to the new KP needles, imo). This is a close-up of the interior of the dpn case. I'd show you the whole thing, but I couldn't fit it all in the shot. That's how long it is. Not cumbersome-long, by any means, just perfect. There's about a million pockets, and they're just a touch wider than usual dpn case pockets, which is great because I can again fit the envelope/sleeves in them (oh, how I wish KP would brand their needles with the sizes!). Freaking awesome, I tell you. Y'all, you too can get your hands on kickass cases like these...Shanelle is working on opening an Etsy store!!! Please be patient, though, she's a busy girl with a demanding job, so I'm not sure exactly when it'll be open for business, but feel free to drop her a comment on her blog & encourage her to cough up some cases! They're really wonderful, and I fully plan on sending some as secret pal presents this winter! (And thanks again for the incredible trade, Shanelle!!)

Sunday, August 27, 2006


If you're reading this, you're tagged. So there.

1. Grab the nearest book. Open the book to page 123. Find the fifth sentence.Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.

The ensuing sock knitting craze gripped the state and assured that no Alabama soldier would lack warm socks even though he suffered from other shortages. Attached to a shipment of 1,200 pairs went this note from knitters: "{M}any willing fingers are diligently plying their needles to furnish much more of the needed socks." Those fingers continued until Alabama's heavy casualties compelled them to produce linen and bandages for hospitals.

This is taken from No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting. Damned interesting book, and though I have a copy from the library, I really wish I owned it. The passage in question is speaking of knitting during the Civil War.

2.stretch your left arm out as far as you can...what do you touch first?

Um, air? Well, the couch is over there, but I'd be more likely to whack the stack of papers & stuff-to-be-filed on the end of the desk.

3. what was the last thing you watched on tv?

Oz, the first season (again). I don't actually have cable tv (or any tv reception, for that matter), so everything I watch is on dvd or tape. I love my Netflix, lemme tell ya.

4. without looking, what time is it?


5. what is the actual time?


6. with the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

The neighbors banging around upstairs, the kids little pencil scratches (they're working on math & writing right now). Not much else, as the windows are closed right now, due to insane amounts of humidity.

7. when did you last step outside?

An hour or two ago, to check & see if the humidity had gone down enough to open the windows back up again. Sadly, it's still sticky as heck. NOT good for even tension on your knitting, ya know.

8. what are you wearing?

A chocolate brown scoopneck t-shirt, jeans shorts, and flip flops. Standard uniform for the summer for me.

9. when did you last laugh?

This morning, at my demented kitty.

10. seen something weird lately?

My cat carries her kitty cookie jar around in her teeth. It's just a small plastic container that holds kitty treats, and I only put in a few at a time, because she likes to take it down & open it up & eat the contents. It's really entertaining to watch her get into it.

11. what did you dream last night?

I can't remember for certain, but I know it involved my husband somehow.

12. what's on the walls of the room you're in?

A bulletin board, an Ansel Adams print, several Art Nouveau advertisements, the family coat of arms, photos of my kids & my wedding, an antique map of England & Wales, a couple mountain bikes, huge amounts of books on the bookshelves, and more music/drum gear than you can shake a stick at.

14. what was the last film you saw?

Well, lately it's been more about the tv series on dvd & the documentaries than actual movies...we watched an interesting documentary on Theremin the other day, and I watched a few silly Learn To Knit videos (sadly, I already knew everything she taught, though I can see how it'd be a good dvd for a brand-newbie). The last movie I saw in the theater was Monster House. you like to dance?

Um, not really...I'm terrible at it, so I don't really have any fun because I'm too self-conscious.

16. would you ever consider living abroad?

Heck yeah! I'd love to live in Ireland or England somewheres. Especially the Yorkshire countryside. Of course, I'd probably only live there for a limited time before I came home to the midwest, but I'd sure love to try it for a few years!

17. if you became a multi-millionaire overnight what would you buy first?

A home! Actually, what I'd buy *first* would probably be a nice dinner out. I've been dying for a really good steak for months, but can't cough up the dough for a decent steakhouse. Wildfire in Chicago calls to me. I tell ya, the filet mignon there will just about change your religion. But I digress. I'd definitely buy my cute little farm in the cornfields somewhere, and pay off my car. I'd take dh on a shopping spree at Interstate Music, just to watch him go crazy. Then I'd go on a major yarn binge, and get all the pretty colors I've ever drooled over. Heh.

18.tell me something about you that i don't know.

I've never broken a single bone in my life.

19. what would you change about the world?

Good heavens, where does one start? Well, I think the first thing I'd do is give every person an acute awareness of how their actions affect others. Just think how different our world would be if Hitler had had a conscience.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

*Now* will it work?

The aforementioned loot pictures...

Isn't it wonderful?? Lessee here, we have on the top row, starting from the left, two skeins Lorna's Laces Sock in Camouflage, two skeins Lorna's Laces Sock in Tuscany, Mountain Colors Bearfoot in ??(can't remember...I want to say Wild Cherry, or something like that), Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Obsidian, six beautiful skeins Socks That Rock (scroll down for color names), Koigu KPPPM (dunno the color, but it's purty...looks like clouds on a summer day), Koigu KPM (again, dunno the color...bright red, though, and not as brick-like as I'd thought. Oh well.), and my first skein of Opal, color unknown. Bottom row, from left, begins with some gorgeous Claudia's Hand Paints in Chocolate Covered Cherry, six skeins Malabrigo in Olive (sweater for meeeee!!), two honkin huge skeins of a squishysoft 100% alpaca 3ply that's being swatched up & blocked (sweater for my ma, who hopefully never reads this blog), three skeins Noro Kureyon, rather unfortunately purchased *before* I saw the sale table at Webs, selling the exact same thing for three bucks less per skein, and one skein Transitions by Noro. The Kureyon is already on the needles, working towards becoming a Booga Bag, and the Transitions will sooner or later become a scarf. Isn't this just the most gawjus stuff EVER?? Here we have the much-coveted Socks that Rock, in colorways Fred Flinstone, Lagoon, Ruby Slippers, Highway 30, Metamorphosis, and Terra somethingerother. Soooo pretty! Honestly, the Highway 30 is incredibly pink for me (really, when was the last time you saw something pink on this blog?), but it's just so pretty, I couldn't leave it behind. Besides, maybe it can become socks for someone else for Christmas or something. Or maybe I'll just pet it a lot. I'm such a sock ho.

And, because I am so very much in love with my sock yarn collection, I pulled the whole darn thing out & rearranged it several times, just for fun. I do have a picture of the whole beautimous thing, but of course, it refuses to post. Sigh.

I'm not dead, I swear!

I am, however, massively behind in the whole posting thing. Good lord, where to begin?? Okay then, random & barely coherent it is...

First of all, I had a lovely visit from my pal Shanelle, who is an extremely talented knitter, and a fabulous seamstress as well. She's incredibly nice & interesting on the boards where we met, and REALLY nice, interesting, and damn funny in person. And, she brought me fudge, which always wins my heart. I'm cheap that way. She went with my parents, my boys & I to an old-timey steam engine show, where we went half-deaf from the engines, ate corn dogs, gawked at the awesome antique cars & tractors, and just generally had a grand 'ol time. I just love events like this...the whole thing is held in the back 40 of some old farmer guy, and there's huge trees everywhere, and old men in overalls & seed caps, and farm kids learning to run the hundred year old machinery, and fried food, and such an air of history! These are the machines that created America as we know it, and being so close to the country's history like that is just amazing to me.

Shanelle also accompanied me to that wonderous mecca of all things fiber, that black hole of finances, that paragon of yarny goodness...Stitches!!! Oh my good lord, I thought I'd died & gone to heaven. The only way it could have possibly been any better is if I'd had a special card that assured me that every skein would cost only a dollar for me that day. Hey, a girl can dream! It was soooo much fun, though. Shanelle & I were lucky enough to be at the very front of the line to get in, though we were beaten to the door by a *really* determined older woman, who got us laughing so hard that I almost couldn't walk properly. (Seriously, this lady raced us up the stairs! It was a good way to start the day, laughing & running like crazy people. Which we are.) I, of course, immediately made a beeline for Blue Moon Fiber Arts, home of the much-coveted Socks That Rock. I reeeeaaaalllly wish they'd get around to finishing the updating/upgrading of their website. Many of the colors that they had aren't listed there, and dangit, I may want some more lightweight soon! I did, however, come out of there with six skeins of the gorgeous stuff, which pleased me immensely. After we managed to pry ourselves out of that booth (omg, it was packed! I'm really glad I chose to go there first), Shanelle & I started a methodical, don't-want-to-miss-a-single-thing pattern around the room. Truly, it's the only way to do it...there's just SO much fiber, SO many beautiful colors, that you'll get completely overwhelmed & scatterbrained otherwise. I still can't believe all the was so amazing just to touch them all! Silk & quiviut blends (oooooh my!), finest merinos, bamboo, buffalo (!!).... Endless amounts of fibers & yarns. Honestly, I just wanted to hop on the tables & roll around in it. There were gorgeous orenburg lace shawls that were so beautiful it almost made you weep, socks in every color known to man (and a few previously unknown), sweaters of every skill level imagineable. Let me tell you, quiviut lace is something everyone must feel before they die, in my opinion. It's so light, so feather-soft, you almost can't feel it as you hold it. Becoming skilled enough as to be worthy of a skein of quiviut laceweight is one of my loftiest goals.

Of course, I was a complete dolt & forgot my camera at home. You do, however, get pics of the spoils! Now, see, this is where my single-mindedness & planning really pays off...I'm really rather poor, financially speaking. Putting a day like Stitches on a credit card is just shockingly unwise, and having much extra money at any given point is highly unlikely, especially since we just bought a car. Knowing all this, I started saving money for Stitches back in May, setting a little bit aside every week, and earning small amounts here & there that also got socked away (like the stupid pun there?). I'm incredibly proud of myself for that, I'll have you know. It was WONDERFUL to be able to buy all the pretty yarns I coveted that day!! Granted, given the opportunity, I could have spent ten times what I did, but I'm still quite pleased with what I brought home.

*SIGH* It seems Blogger doesn't care to post my pictures right now. I took pics of the whole sock stash, too...grrrr. I'll try that part again another time, I suppose. My Stitches loot amounts to 14 pairs of socks, two sweaters, a Booga bag, and a scarf. Yeah!!

More at a later, more cooperative (in the Blogger sense) time...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Yarn & oddments for swap/sale!

Help me clear up some space in my stash for Stitches! (Have I mentioned, by the way, how BLOODY EXCITED I AM about Stitches??) Okay, here's what I've got....

This is a sweater's worth of Hayfield Vintage DK (60% wool, 40% nylon, machine washable). There's 10 50gm balls, which adds up to about 1230 yards or so. Some have been frogged, most are in yarny cakes (I do so love having a ball winder!), but ball bands are (obviously) there. This is a really nice, soft yarn...I just don't do pink, generally speaking. This is four balls purple boucle (I think that's what you'd call it), and four balls blue boucle. I have no idea what fiber, probably acrylic, but there's no ball band. Each ball is about four ounces, so there's a pound of purple and a pound of blue (And fyi, they aren't *together* or anything...if you just want the purple and not the blue, or vice versa, that's totally okay. I just took the picture like that to save photo space.). This is all a VERY soft, fleecy chenille sort of yarn...I have no idea what it's called, but it's really soft (and likely acrylic, I'd think). There's 2.5oz of each color--blue, pink/purple/blue, and white with pastel flecks. This would make terrific baby hats, or something of that nature. This particular yarn is really neat...I'm guessing it's mohair, as it's got a pretty halo-like quality to it, and is very light & fluffy. There's 4.5oz of the natural/cream color, and half an ounce each of the grey & moss green ones (I'll just throw those two in with the cream). The pretty multicolor at the top is 13.5oz of the same fiber.These also would make great baby yarns...each ball is 1.5oz, and the two on the left are pink & yellow, the two in the middle are muted rainbow colors with a neat plied stripey effect, and the two on the right are more pastel versions of the two in the middle. Again, all wound into nice yarny cakes for you. These three are all random balls of off-white cotton. There's about 4ish ounces total. These would make good dishcloths, I think, or scrubby things.

I also have a few more things not pictured...

1lb white Red Heart (y'know those ginormous One Pound skeins? Yeah, that.)

1lb off-white Red Heart (same thing, slightly different color)

2.2oz Caron Jewel Box chenille yarn in a really pretty cream color

1/2oz Berroco Quest in Ruby Red. There's only a small amount, but maybe somebody can do something neat with it. It's really pretty!

1sk black Caron Wintuk

3sk TLC Macaroon super bulky, moss color

6oz cream/off-white cotton chenille--really nice yarn, perfect for those flower facecloths from Weekend Knitting

Interweave Knits-Spring 06 (I wound up with two of them)

Fiber Trends pattern in page protector sleeve-Chained Melody (vest)

Fiber Trends pattern in page protector sleeve-Easy Hat & Mittens

Crocheters Value Pack crochet hooks (comes with size 5, 7, & 10 steel hooks and size G, H, & I aluminum hooks, plus basic instructions)

Pile of Random Crochet Hooks (size D, H, J, E, E, I, & H)

Package of four Button Clams (weird little plastic doodads that you can place over ceramic/decorative buttons to protect them in the laundry)

And these aren't knitting-related, but they're in great shape and awfully darn cute, so it's a shame to let them go to waste, simply because my kids have huge feets...

Buzz Lightyear slippers! These are size 11-12, and they're in darn-near-new condition. The cool thing is, when the kid steps down, the buttons on Buzz's chest light up. And Mickey, too! Mickey Mouse in a car slippers, size 7-8, and like the Buzz Lightyear ones, when the kid takes a step, the headlights on Mickey's car light up. Very cute.

All of these things are up for sale or swap. I'm interested in Paypal, all kinds of sock yarns (Lorna's, CTH, Mountain Colors, STR, etc. etc), dpn cases (my sewing skills still aren't up to par yet), sock bags, gift cards, natural fibers, knitting books, whatever! Drop a line in the comments here, or over at the boards, and help me clear up some storage space for my trip to Stitches!!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I am so very blessed

Y'know, I have no idea what cosmic good I've done to deserve my lot in life, but it must have been spectacular. I have the BEST swap pals right now!! Y'all know I'm in the One Skein swap, and this is the first time the organizers have done anything like this. I'm really hoping they decide to do another one over the fall/winter season, because I'm having a blast! My downstream girl is absolutely adorable, and just so much fun to shop for, and my upstream is wonderfully generous & has fabulous taste! I recently received the July box from her, and oooh my! She chose sock yarn (and heavens, how I do loves me some sock yarn) in a beautiful green/blue/purple colourway. I'd tell you the name of the maker, but it's really German, and I don't know if I'd be copying the name of the company, or simply the german words for "sock yarn". It's beautiful, though, and even comes with a really generous skein of matching reinforcement thread! Not only that, but she also sent along a Chibi, which I've been wanting for quite some time (how did you know?). It's a clear case, with blue caps, and it's perfect to toss in the pocket of my knitting bag. Thanks so much, One Skein Honey!! You rock!

I'm also really enjoying my time in the Blogosphere SP8. It's absolutely HUGE, and just way too much fun! There's about a million people involved, so it's really fun to go blogstalking & see who else is playing too. My downstream is really interesting here too, and again, it's just *so* much fun to shop for people! My upstream, though...oh my. My upstream has this weird mind-reading thing going on, and I absolutely worship at her feet. She's got a real gift for choosing the *perfect* things, and she's totally topped herself this time. I've been wanting to learn to spin for some time now, pretty much since I started knitting. I've always loved the idea of a spinning wheel, especially the classic ones that you see in museums, but I *know* that even if I could afford to buy such a thing, I'd never be able to keep it in my home! Space is soooo at a premium around here. I live in a small two bedroom apartment with my cat, two boys, all their billions of toys (omg, the legos!!), my beloved husband, and his DRUMS. There's very few musical instruments that use up more space. Fully half of what would actually be a fairly generous living room is taken up by my sweetie's drums & electronics & random gear. Long story short, there's zero room for a spinning wheel, and I don't expect to be able to get one for at least five to ten years or so. I've been eyeballing drop spindles, though I'm pretty clueless yet about the pros & cons of each. Anyway, I open up the mailbox the other day, and omg!!! The most beautiful drop spindle EVER, custom painted for ME!! My all-time favorite flower is painted on the whorl, and wow, you can almost smell the lilacs. And, it even came with some beautiful wool roving started on it, spun into the finest laceweight. I'm sure I'll goober it up when I start to spin it, but no biggie, beginners always start sorta sloppy. I'm just SO excited about this!!! Having a spindle just opens up sooo many possibilities, and I'm incredibly fortunate to live within reasonable driving distance of The Fold, which is a spinner's wet dream. I blame that store for really making me want to spin...she has these huge sacks full of rovings of all kinds, and you can stick your hand in & grope them to your hearts content. The alpaca roving is so soft it kills me, and omg, the Blue Moon Fiber Arts roving has the most incredible colors!! Of course, I'll be starting with less amazing wools, because I want to be *worthy* of the really fine stuff before I go winding it into a wad, but someday, I *will* be skilled enough to make beautiful yarns out of that stuff. Thank you thank you thank you, SP8!!! I'm just so excited about all the incredible options that are open to me now, and I can't wait to get started!

*Wanders off to roll in fiber-induced bliss coma...*

Friday, July 28, 2006

I is for Infuriating

Also irritating & inconceivable. So y'all know I've been working on this pair of socks for Eldest Boy forever now. I'd finished sock #1, and Eldest Boy *loved* it. I'd gotten all the way to the toe decreases on sock #2 when something really didn't seem seems I'd managed to foob up the sock all the way back at the freaking gussets. I was SO pissed. The pattern was written for four needles, but I'm definitely a five needle girl, so when I went to place the markers next to the heel flap, I clearly didn't pay enough attention. The gusset was off by a full INCH.
You can see where I've sewn a lifeline, and how the gusset mistakenly starts about seven or eight stitches away from the heel flap. Oy freakin vey! *That* is how close I was to finishing when I figured it out. Considering how bloody long it took me to get there, I was less than amused, to say the least. Here we have the lovely Tipsy, modeling the frogged sock with yarn ramen. She even looks as pissed about the whole thing as I am. She's a great cat. This was my first experience with sewing in a lifeline, and I have to say, I LOVE the thing!! Good lord, how screwed would I have been without it?? I'm afraid to contemplate. Fortunately, though, both socks are now completed, and Eldest Boy is quite pleased.

The rugrat in question modeling the socks. Note the slight bagginess around the ankles...yes, I did make them a little large, partly because it's flaming hot here right now, and I expect his feets will grow a bit by winter, when he'll want to wear them. The bagginess, however, I think is due to him having the skinniest legs ever. He's a very stringy, narrow little boy, and lordy, that makes buying pants for him tricky! Whenever I find a pair that are the right length, they're so wide around the waist that he can't keep 'em up. This is why I love summer...I can just put him in little bitty shorts, and not worry about the length. Anyway, he's thrilled to pieces that the socks are done, and now Boy the Younger is beginning to make noise about when *he'll* get socks, too. I just love children who openly encourage the knitting habit.

As for now, I'm working on my Very First Toe-Up sock, using Plymouth Sockotta (neato blue color), my kickass brand new KnitPicks dpns, and the pattern in Wendy Knits. I've just gotten past the toe on the first one, and so far, I'm loving the yarn & the fabric it creates, I'm LOVING the needles, and I'm learning to like the pattern. I really really like the idea of toe-up, especially for sizing & fit & maximum yarn usage, but holy cow, picking up wrapped stitches (especially with this yarn!) is tricksy! I'm hoping it'll feel easier on sock #2, which I'll probably cast on today. I also cast on for my husband's huge cabled sweater the other day. This thing may take all beloved is a big man, 6'3", and he wants it in black (of course) with a grey stripe, so not only will it take forever to knit, but I'll need perfect lighting to do it, lest I go blind from the blackness of it. Granted, it will certainly look good on him, but's hard to see black stitches unless you've got surgical lamps over your shoulder! I'm using Wool of the Andes, because frankly, a sweater big enough to fit my sweetie would cost a bloody fortune if I used anything pricier.

And speaking of KnitPicks again, have you SEEN their new yarns?! Oooooh, I'm excited! I love the idea of a WotA Bulky...chunky sweaters in the winter just seem so cozy. The Swish Superwash is nice to have, too, for kid sweaters & such. And, most interesting, imo...the Gloss sock yarn!! A merino/silk blend (!!) in the most beautiful colors...I simply *have* to get my hands on some of that soon! Of course, all yarn shopping has been put on hold for me until Stitches. Bummer, yes, but I really want to save my pennies for the major haul that day. Yay!